Is Jake Gyllenhaal the official star of the fall festival season? Yesterday, the programmers of the Toronto International Film Festival announced the first batch of movies that will be screening there in September, including opening night selection Demolition, featuring Gyllenhaal as a bereaved husband. Today, the programmers of the Venice Film Festival followed suit, laying out their own lineup, and as it turns out, they’ll be kicking things off on a Donnie Darko-ish note, too: Venice, which overlaps with TIFF by two days, will commence with Everest, a mountain-climbing drama starring (you guessed it) Jake Gyllenhaal. How you going to chase that trend, New York Film Festival? Does the actor have a secretly shot Nightcrawler sequel you can slot into opening night?
One Southpaw star isn’t the only point of overlap between Venice and Toronto, the latter of which will screen new films from Atom Egoyan, True Detective alum Cary Fukunaga, and Thomas McCarthy, a few days after they premiere at the former. In what’s become the new standard for the fest, Venice has assembled a rough mix of art-house and gala fare, pitting new works by international auteurs against more star-studded projects. The official competition, for example, will include not just the latest from Poland’s Jerzy Skolimowski (Essential Killing) and Russia’s Alexander Sokurov (Russian Ark), but also The Danish Girl, that Eddie Redmayne film directed by Tom “The King’s Speech” Hooper. Also, there’s another TIFF title, Anomalisa, Charlie Kaufman’s directorial follow-up to Synecdoche, New York. It’s animated, but “not for kids.”
Some of the more high-profile and enticing selections will screen out of competition. Looking for pure star power? Try Black Mass, with Johnny Depp as infamous Boston gangster Whitey Bulger, or “The Audition,” a 16-minute Martin Scorsese short featuring both of the filmmaker’s muses, Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio. And providing a little director-on-director cinephilia is De Palma, in which Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow coax a long interview out of the titular American master.
The full Venice lineup can be found at Variety. Interestingly enough, the most promising collection of filmmaking talent converges not within the lineup, but on the jury: Alfonso Cuarón leads a deciding body that also includes Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Pawel Pawlikowski, Hou Hsiao-hsien, and Lynne Ramsay. Speaking of festival juries, remember how Jake Gyllenhaal was on the Cannes jury in May? Forget the fall season. He’s got the whole festival year on lockdown.